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The laconic Louis Reps embodies both sides of Sweden’s love of malt whisky. A Society member of good standing, he has enjoyed drinking and collecting whisky since long before it became fashionable to do so. But he is also a voracious collector of what might be considered whisky ephemera. In the mid 1990s, he became fascinated with the beautiful Glenlochy distillery in Fort William, which fell silent in 1982 and has now been converted into flats. As well as collecting increasingly elusive and expensive bottles of Glenlochy, Louis has spent a decade contacting former employees and documenting every scrap of information he could track down, publishing everything on his website. In addition to being a member of the

Stockholm Whisky Enthusiasts club, Louis is president of the Spirit Safe Collectors Society. A genuine spirit safe, rescued from scrapping, takes pride of place in his living room.


Writer, whisky expert and presenter of Sweden’s popular TV4 breakfast show, Steffo has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to single malt appreciation in Sweden. When researching production for his own line of whisky-infused cheese, Steffo went straight to the English town of Cheddar and found a creamery of unimpeachable provenance and quality. However, after seeing the craftsmanship put into the cheese itself, he was “horrified” when they went to add “a cheap

blended whisky” for flavour. He fled the building, only to return an hour later with a car full of his favourite single malts and clear instructions as to how they should be used. He believes Sweden needs to find its own whisky identity. “Sweden can’t be Scotland and it’s impossible to have very old whisky when you’ve only been making it for 10 years! The new Swedish distillers are doing the smart thing by creating new casks with a local flavour profile and saying ‘this is special because it’s Swedish’. And they’re doing it very well, I think; it’s often too young – but they’re heading in absolutely the right direction.”

The Akkurat bar was that night playing

host to the Stockholm Whisky Enthusiasts Group, one of many such clubs in Sweden. With a membership totalling around 100 (it was in the low 30s just two years ago), the group has been going for around five years and attracts some of the biggest whisky names in Scotland to host tastings. Peter Carlsson, one of the group’s

founding members, says: “The great thing about groups like this is that we weren’t already friends first, who just started drinking whisky together. We were brought together by our shared interest and have become friends through that. Whisky has a very broad appeal in Sweden, so it’s a good way to meet many different types of people.”


Luis Reps chips in: “This club is not the most extreme in Sweden. We do have several enthusiasts who are really deep into this, and who will go very far to learn. But for most of us, it’s just a great way to try many different bottlings and learn from visiting experts. “At the same time, you need to

have these fanatics who can get their hands on the very rare bottlings. Our chairman once bought an opened bottle of a 1974 Laphroaig from a bar in Belgium. A friend of his saw it there, so he drove down with a pocket-full of money and bought it at the bar price!” My next port of call was Stockholm’s

old town, Gamla Stan, which is essentially an island in the centre of the archipelago

upon which modern Stockholm is built. Its tall buildings and narrow, winding, criss-cross streets may be disorienting, but getting lost is an integral part of its charm. And, with several fine whiskies still coursing through my veins, I quickly became quite heroically lost. After a full hour of meandering, I finally

arrived at Glenfiddich Whisky Warehouse No.68 (soon to be renamed the Ardbeg Whisky Warehouse); a long, stylish bar, offering a cask of the eponymous dram and a decent selection of other malts. In no time, I was deep in conversation

with Jim, Marcus and Patrik, three friends who had dropped in for a quick dram after work. All three recounted tales of visits to Islay before joining me in an

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